Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Museum photo seen by daughter rekindles memories of Iwo Jima

ST. PETERSBURG

Even now, Conrad Pelland has no idea what happened that day in 1945. The young Marine was an infantryman with the 3rd Marine Division, part of the armada invasion of the Japanese volcanic island Iwo Jima.

"We were advancing," said Pelland, now 89. "There were two airfields in the center of the island." Surrounding the American fighters, in much rougher terrain, were thousands of Japanese soldiers.

"Finally, the commanders realized we were in jeopardy," he said. "My second lieutenant got hit in the hip. I was right next to him."

An officer ordered Pelland and another Marine to the field hospital to get a stretcher. They did and headed back.

"The next thing I knew, I was on a hospital ship."

Pelland thinks a shell may have knocked him unconscious; he was too close for shrapnel punctures. He suffered hearing damage.

He was awarded a Purple Heart and later received a copy of the classic Joe Rosenthal photograph of the five Marines and one sailor raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi. Iwo Jima was one of the major battles of World War II.

As Veterans Day approaches, Pelland recounted the incident in the west St. Petersburg home he and his wife, Rosemary, 83, have shared for more than 50 years. He has hearing impairment and macular degeneration but is vigorous still, having caught a 3-foot-long kingfish the previous day.

For all his ailments, he said, the Bay Pines VA Medical Center has "treated me like a king" over the years.

The war was over when the Pellands met in September 1948, in their hometown of New Bedford, Mass. Her uncle Walter invited Pelland, then known as Bill, to a birthday party.

"I wouldn't look at him all night. He was so good-looking," Rosemary Pelland said. They married in June.

There were bumps in the road. Pelland says he had a chip on his shoulder. He was 13 when his father died, and he dropped out of school to help support the family. He had a mouth that got him into trouble during basic training at Parris Island, S.C.

Back home from the war, he experienced what professionals today call post-traumatic stress disorder. In those days it was known as shell shock, or battle fatigue. He turned down a promotion at the Continental Screw Co., which supplied the automobile industry.

"It was too much," Mrs. Pelland said. "He knew that." He left the company, and the couple moved in with her parents, who had relocated to Pinellas County.

"When I got to Florida," Pelland said, "you couldn't find work."

He was a sheet-metal laborer for a while and then hired on as a bellhop at the Desert Ranch in St. Pete Beach. After that, he got a job in the St. Petersburg Times composing room and then in the pressroom, retiring as the man in charge in 1987 after 29 years at the newspaper.

Mrs. Pelland ran a licensed day-care operation and earned a real estate license. Her career, she said, was the family: children William, Deborah, Sandra and Katherine. To this day, the siblings thrive together, as do the Pellands' eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

"We have an amazing family," she said. "Even the dogs get along."

Katherine Pelland White, their youngest, took her dog Cheeto, a rescue Lhasa-poo, on a road trip to Virginia this past summer. Beaufort, S.C., home of the Parris Island War Museum, is about halfway. On her way home, she stopped by. In a section devoted to World War II, she saw a photo of a young Marine cleaning his rifle. She thought he looked a lot like her dad.

White took a picture of that image and had it enlarged so her father could see it. Her instincts were correct.

"Pure pride beamed from Dad's eyes!" she recalled.

He hasn't talked much about those days. "I'm glad I went and served my country," Pelland said.

He looks into the distance at something only he can see.

 
Comments
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humor

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humor

SANTA FE, Texas — Hardworking. Funny. Loving. Grieving family and friends recalled the endearing qualities of some of the victims of Friday’s mass shooting at a Texas high school, as authorities on Saturday released the names of the 10 killed. Eight ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 11 hours ago

2 tons of fertilizer spilled into channel leading to Tampa Bay, Kinder Morgan reports to state

TAMPA — As much as two tons of fertilizer accidentally spilled into a channel that leads to the upper part of Tampa Bay, according to a report sent Friday night to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.DEP spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller sai...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Published: 05/19/18
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Published: 05/19/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Published: 05/19/18